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The 50 Greatest Car Chases in Film History

on October 24, 2018, 2:57pm
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20. Gone in 60 Seconds (2000)

Eleanor, Reprised

Make/Model: 1967 Shelby Mustang GT500

Blue Book: Let’s just get this out of the way: yeah, that CG-augmented “final leap” at the end of this sequence is goofy as fuck. It really truly is. But right up until then, this distinctly Bruckheimer-looking demolition derby through half of Los Angeles is still an absolute blast, and one of the great, memorable modern chases. Dominick Suzanne-Mayer

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19. The Matrix Reloaded (2003)

Freeway Mayhem

Make/Model: 2003 Chevrolet CTS/Ducati 996

Blue Book: Absurdism operating on four cylinders. What happens when you let those genre and reality-bending Wachowskis play in the realm of the car chase? Something like the obscenely big and green-tinted chaos of this movie’s action centerpiece. They brought samurai swords and creepy twins! –Blake Goble

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18. Drive (2011)

Opening Getaway

Make/Model: 2006 Chevrolet Impala

Blue Book: Again, Drive owes quite a bit to Walter Hill, particularly in its stylish opening. But where Hill chased thrills, Nicholas Winding Refn instead pursues a more coiled kind of tension. This feels like a chase scene for present-day cinema: all style, silence, and ruthless efficiency. Dominick Suzanne-Mayer

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17. The Dark Knight (2008)

Bat on the Pedway

Make/Model: 2005 Wayne Enterprises Batmobile/2008 Wayne Enterprises Batpod

Blue Book: Which part is best? The Batpod hiding in plain sight, just inside of the Batmobile? The breakneck run through Lower Wacker Drive? Or the breathtaking truck flip on LaSalle Street filmed, for real, in camera, in the middle of the night in downtown Chicago? –Blake Goble

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16. Speed Racer (2008)

The Big One

Make/Model: The Mach Five

Blue Book: Speaking of modernity, the Wachowskis’ take on the retro cartoon is one of the great, triumphantly excessive uses of a lot of studio money ever made. All kaleidoscopic neons meant for the biggest IMAX screens possible, Speed Racer feels like a cartoon brought to life in ways that few other movies have ever matched. Its big final race, then, is a real brain-bender, and proof that saving the best for last is often a virtue. Dominick Suzanne-Mayer

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15. Fast Five (2011)

Heist in Rio

Make/Model: 2010 Dodge Charger SRT-8

Blue Book: They drive a fucking bank vault through Rio. There’s a lot else to say about the grand chase at the end of Fast Five, the movie that turned a Point Break ripoff series into a billion-dollar series of live-action cartoons for good. It’s not even the only great chase in this film. But THAT IS A DODGE CHARGER DUO, DRAGGING A FUCKING BANK VAULT THROUGH RIO. Long live this stupid, wonderful franchise. Dominick Suzanne-Mayer

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14. Baby Driver (2017)

Bellbottoms

Make/Model: 2006 Subaru WRX

Blue Book: The newest chase on our list is a doozy. Edgar Wright not only staged a completely analog chase sequence in the CG age, but he used it as an opportunity to introduce an entire new generation to The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion. It’s thrilling, it’s full of stylistic verve, and it involves a staging of three-car monty on an Atlanta highway. In so many words, it absolutely rules. Dominick Suzanne-Mayer

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13. Thelma and Louise (1991)

On the Run

Make/Model: 1966 Ford Thunderbird

Blue Book:  A two-hour chase in the form of two budding feminist buds on the lam from awful men? From the man? We love it. We love this road movie’s moxie and friendship, and we still get a little wound up at the courageous ending. –Blake Goble

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12. Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991)

Through the Reservoir

Make/Model: 1991 Harley Davidson FLSTF “Fat Boy”

Blue Book: On one hand, Arnie rocking a Harley Davidson is so laughably swinging-dick that it’s almost a shock he wasn’t chomping a cigar throughout the entire scene. On the other, James Cameron stages a rescue race that is so pulse-poundingly heroic, we loved leather Arnie on a hog here. A triumph. No, not the brand. –Blake Goble

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11. Death Proof (2007)

Stuntman Mike Gets His

Make/Model: 1970 Dodge Challenger

Blue Book: For Quentin Tarantino’s half of Grindhouse, he paid homage to the car movies of yore by staging a brutal ’70s slasher within their framework. Yet for all the trash some talk about the listless nature of Death Proof‘s first half, it’s all really just preamble to the long final chase at the end. As a real-life stuntwoman dangles off the hood of a real-life Vanishing Point Challenger, with Kurt Russell’s murderous scumbag in hot pursuit, this cements itself as one of the most daring homages ever staged. Dominick Suzanne-Mayer

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